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Re: Jurassic butterflies
I've been lucky enough to see many of these specimens in person as they
were being studied at the Smithsonian. Exquisite preservation and
amazing convergence with butterflies.
On 2016-02-10 18:56, Richard W. Travsky wrote:
Don't think I've seen this mentioned; it's pretty cool.
The evolutionary convergence of mid-Mesozoic lacewings and Cenozoic
Mid-Mesozoic kalligrammatid lacewings (Neuroptera) entered the fossil
record 165 million years ago (Ma) and disappeared 45 Ma later. Extant
papilionoid butterflies (Lepidoptera) probably originated 80–70 Ma,
long after kalligrammatids became extinct. Although poor preservation
of kalligrammatid fossils previously prevented their detailed
morphological and ecological characterization, we examine new,
well-preserved, kalligrammatid fossils from Middle Jurassic and Early
Cretaceous sites in northeastern China to unravel a surprising array
of similar morphological and ecological features in these two,
unrelated clades. We used polarized light and epifluorescence
photography, SEM imaging, energy dispersive spectrometry and
time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry to examine
kalligrammatid fossils and their environment. We mapped the evolution
of specific traits onto a kalligrammatid phylogeny and discovered that
these extinct lacewings convergently evolved wing eyespots that
possibly contained melanin, and wing scales, elongate tubular
proboscides, similar feeding styles, and seed–plant associations,
similar to butterflies. Long-proboscid kalligrammatid lacewings lived
in ecosystems with gymnosperm–insect relationships and likely accessed
bennettitalean pollination drops and pollen. This system later was
replaced by mid-Cretaceous angiosperms and their insect pollinators.
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: email@example.com Phone: 301-405-4084
Geology Office: Geology 4106
Scholars Office: Centreville 1216
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars
Mailing Address: Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Department of Geology
Building 237, Room 1117
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742 USA